Tag Archives: Earl of Angus

On this day in 1515 – Lady Margaret Douglas was born

Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox was born on 8th October 1515 and was the daughter of Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus and Margaret Tudor, Queen Dowager of Scotland and sister to King Henry VIII. Margaret was born at Harbottle Castle in Northumberland after her mother, Margaret Tudor, fled Scotland after her second husband was threatened by her son King James V.

After Lady Douglas stayed briefly at Berwick Castle with her nurse, Isobel Hoppar, Margaret joined the household of her godfather, Cardinal Wolsey. Following the death of Cardinal Wolsey Margaret was sent to the royal palace of Beaulieu where she lived with King Henry VIII’s daughter, Princess Mary. Margaret and her cousin Mary would be brought up together. Margaret was present at Christmastime at Greenwich Palace in 1530, 1531 and 1532 and King Henry presented his niece each year with a gift of £6 13s 4d.

Following the King’s divorce to Katherine of Aragon and his marriage to Anne Boleyn, Margaret was appointed as a lady-in-waiting to the new queen. It was during this time that Margaret met Lord Thomas Howard and they began a relationship, however by 1535 the couple were secretly engaged. By July 1536 Henry had learnt about his niece’s secret engagement and was furious, he had recently declared that Princess Elizabeth like her elder sister, Mary, was now illegitimate and this left Margaret as next in line to the throne therefore she was expected to seek the King’s permission for any potential marriage. As a result both Margaret and Thomas Howard were imprisoned in the Tower of London and on 18th July 1536 an Act of Attainder was passed in Parliament that sentenced Howard to death for his attempt to ‘interrupt ympedyte and let the seid Succession of the Crowne’. Parliament also included in the Act that it was forbidden that any member of the King’s family could not marry without his permission. Margaret remained in the Tower until she fell ill and the King granted permission for her to be moved to Syon Abbey under the supervision of the abbess. Margaret stayed here until she was released on 29th October 1537, Lord Howard was spared from being executed but remained in the Tower of London until his death two days after Margaret’s release on 31st October 1537.

Margaret wrote to Thomas Cromwell in 1537 shortly before her release to make it known that she had abandoned Howard, she wrote;

My Lord, what cause have I to give you thanks, and how much bound am I unto you, that by your means hath gotten me, as I trust, the King’s grace his favour again, and besides that that it pleaseth you to write and to give me knowledge wherein I might have his Grace’s displeasure again, which I pray our Lord sooner to send me death than that; I assure you, my Lord, I will never do that thing willingly that should offend his Grace.

And my Lord, whereas it is informed you that I do charge the house with a greater number that is convenient, I assure you I have but two more than I had in the Court, which indeed were my Lord Thomas’ servants; and the cause that I took them for was for the poverty that I saw them in, and for no cause else. Be seeing, my Lord, that it is your pleasure that I shall keep none that did belong unto my Lord Thomas, I will put them from me.

And I beseech you not think that any fancy doth remain in me touching him; but that all my study and care is how to please the King’s grace and to continue in his favour. And my Lord, where it is our pleasure that I shall keep but a few here with me, I trust ye will think that I can have no fewer than I have; for I have but a gentleman and a groom that keeps my apparel, and another that keeps my chamber, and a chaplain that was with me always in the Court. Now, my Lord, I beseech you that I may know your pleasure if you would that I should keep any fewer. Howbeit, my Lord, my servants hath put the house to small charge, for they have nothing but the reversion of my board; nor I do call for nothing but that that is given me; howbeit I am very well intreated. And my Lord, as for resort, I promise you I have none, except it be gentlewomen that comes to see me, nor never had since I came hither; for if any resort of men had come it should neither have become me to have seen them, nor yet to have kept them company, being a maid as I am. Now my Lord, I beseech you to be so good as to get my poor servants their wages; and thus I pray to our Lord to preserve you both soul and body.

By her that has her trust in you,
Margaret Douglas”

Margaret returned to court and in 1539 along with the Duchess of Richmond was appointed to greet Anne of Cleves at Greenwich Palace before joining her household staff, however, Henry decided to ride out to meet Anne at Rochester and Anne was put aside just months later. Margaret fell out of favour with the King once more in 1540 after she embarked on a secret affair with Sir Charles Howard, the half nephew of her previous fiancé, Lord Howard, and brother to the King’s new wife, Catherine Howard. Margaret was back at court to be one of the few witnesses to Henry’s final marriage to Catherine Parr. Margaret was appointed as one of Catherine’s chief ladies as they had known each other since they came to court around the same time in the 1520’s.

Margaret DouglasMargaret Douglas

In 1544 Margaret married Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, a Scottish exile who had been involved in the fight for control of Scotland with the Earl of Arran and also the prospect of marriage with Mary of Guise, but it was an offer of marriage to Margaret that Lennox could not refuse. They would go on to have two children Charles Stewart and Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley and second husband to Mary Queen of Scots.

Whilst her childhood friend and cousin, Queen Mary I, was on the throne of England Margaret was assigned rooms in Westminster Palace and in November 1553 Mary told Spanish ambassador, Simon Renard, that she thought Margaret, now Lady Lennox, was best suited to be her successor. Margaret took every opportunity to report gossip to Mary regarding Elizabeth, when Elizabeth was ordered to court after the Wyatt rebellion she was placed in a room in Whitehall that was directly below Margaret’s who turned her room into a kitchen so the noise would disturb the young Princess.

Margaret was integral to Mary and upon her wedding to Philip of Spain she granted Margaret the honour of carrying her train into the ceremony. When Mary died in 1558, Margaret was the chief mourner at her funeral. Following Mary’s death Margaret moved to Yorkshire where she lived at Temple Newsam and was the centre of Roman Catholic activity, which caused issues with her cousin and the new queen, Elizabeth. Whilst in Yorkshire Margaret successfully married her son, Lord Darnley, to Mary Queen of Scots causing a rival claim to the throne of England.

Margaret was sent to the Tower of London in 1566 by Elizabeth but following the murder of her son the following year she was released. Elizabeth wanted to send a clear message that Margaret’s family had no claims to the throne despite the fact she was grandmother to the son of Mary Queen of Scots and Darnley, the future King James. Following her release Margaret cut all association with her daughter in law, especially as she was implicated in the murder of her husband, however, Margaret did reconcile with Mary. With Mary overthrown from the Scottish throne and her infant son chosen over her, Margaret’s husband, Earl of Lennox, acted as regency until his assassination in 1571.

In 1574 Margaret was sent once again to the Tower of London after she arranged the marriage of her youngest son, Charles, to Elizabeth Cavendish – the stepdaughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury. Margaret was eventually pardoned after her son’s death in 1576. Following her youngest son’s death Margaret cared for his daughter, Lady Arbella Stewart. However, Margaret died shortly after her son on 7th March 1578. Margaret died in deep debt however, Queen Elizabeth I paid for a grand funeral alongside her young son in the south aisle of Henry VII’s chapel in Westminster Abbey.

Margaret_Douglas_tombMargaret Douglas’ tomb

On this day in 1514 – Margaret Tudor and Archibald Douglas married

Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of King Henry VII, was the wife of King James IV of Scotland and mother to the future King James V. After King James IV was killed at the Battle of Flodden their infant son became King of Scotland, however, as he was just 17 months old a regency was required to rule in his place. It was originally led by Margaret as part of the royal will under the condition that it would last for as long as she remained a widow.

It was unusual for a woman to be in a powerful position and it wasn’t long before some of the nobility began plotting to replace Margaret and looked to John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany as their figurehead. Margaret began searching for her own allies in an attempt to keep the regency and looked to the House of Douglas and as a result met Archibald Douglas, 6h Earl of Angus. The couple married in secret on 6th August 1514 in the parish church of Kinnoull, Perth.

The marriage between Margaret and Archibald Douglas meant that the terms of her first husbands will was now violated and she would have to forfeit the regency and guardianship of her son. At this news Margaret took her children to Stirling Castle in defiance. John Stewart would eventually negotiate the handing over of the young King into his care.

Margaret briefly returned to London and stayed at the court of her brother, King Henry VIII, whilst Margaret travelled her husband remained in Scotland. Whilst the couple were separated Douglas had an illegitimate daughter and moved his mistress and daughter into property that belonged to his wife. Margaret returned to Scotland to find that Douglas had been openly living with his new family and refused to support Douglas as he attempted to gain power. Margaret also wrote to her brother in regards to divorcing Douglas. Margaret wrote;

I am sore troubled with my Lord of Angus since my last coming into Scotland, and every day more and more, so that we have not been together this half year…I am so minded that, and I may by law of God and to my honour, to part with him, for I wit well he loves me not, as he shows me daily.”

King Henry VIII did not support his sister, at this time he was still married to Katherine of Aragon. Henry viewed Douglas as an ally against Scotland. Margaret disappointed at the lack of support from her brother began moving her support towards John Stewart and the current regency. With the help of Stewart the couple were eventually divorced on 11th March 1528.

Margaret Tudor Archibald DouglasMargaret Tudor and Archibald Douglas

On this day in 1545 – Battle of Ancrum Moor

On 27th February 1545 English forces were defeated by the Scottish at the Battle of Ancrum Moor, four miles northwest of Jedburgh, Scotland.

The battle was part of the War of the Rough Wooing which lasted nearly seven years, 1543 – 1550.

Henry VIII wanted to marry his son, Edward, to Mary, Queen of Scots to secure Scottish allegiance. In December 1543 the Scottish Parliament declined the match and instead renewed their alliance with France. Henry’s reaction was to declare war on Scotland as an attempt to persuade them to change their minds.

Sir Ralph Eure, in 1545, leading an army was pillaging land on the Scottish Borders including the burning of Brumehous Tower with the inhabitants still inside. The Earl of Arran and the Earl of Angus, local rivals, combined their forces after Angus learnt that Henry VIII was granting Eure some of his land. They joined the rest of the Scottish army and began marching towards the English near Jedburgh.

The Scottish army consisted of approx 2500 men while the English had over 4000. A small amount of the Scottish force feigned attack on the English camp to draw out the men. As the English crossed Palace Hill they found the rest of the Scottish army waiting for them. With the element of surprise and the setting sun obstructing the English army’s view it didn’t take long for the Scottish to disband the English army.

Eight hundred Englishmen were killed in battle, with over a 1000 taken prisoner. Amongst the dead was Sir Ralph Eure. Arran, took to the battlefield to survey the Scottish victory and to congratulate Angus. He also needed to identify Eure’s body, with the help of an English prisoner.

The defeat at Ancrum Moor temporarily set back to English campaign and encouraged Francis I to send French troops to assist the Scottish, although this did little help overall. The war eventually came to an end shortly after Henry VIII’s death.